Re: User's thoughts about LPPL
I think Frank et al's concerns could be addressed fairly easily by
requiring distributors of modified versions of the entire LaTeX suite
to document the changes and include the location of that documentation
in the diagnostic output of latex, and requiring distributors of
modified versions of separately-distributed style/class files to do
the same, with a waiver of the documentation requirement if the
file/suite is renamed (thereby not misrepresenting the modified
version as any longer being a substitute for the original). This
certainly would pass the DFSG and would clearly inform users of what
sort of LaTeX they're getting.
Then again, maybe I'm missing the point :-)
Yes I think so.
Notifying users is part of it but not the main part.
LaTeX is a document markup language the primary aim is to have
portable documents. Thus anything that claims to be latex (or tex, or
the computer modern fonts) should produce the same output.
LaTeX has the extra constraint that unlike a compiled program
the full source of latex is visible to every latex document.
Some people have suggested that latex should allow arbitrary changes but
only allow the name "latex" to be used if the resulting program meets
some published interface. That is fine for a compiled program which can
implement a published interface via an implementation that isn't seen by
the application. However it is a technical non starter for a macro
language. If you change latex in _any_ way, adding \relax to any
definition then the observable behaviour of the program will alter.
So for a macro language saying that it meets some published interface is
equivalent to saying that no changes have been made at all.
C the language is specified by international standard. It makes sense to
talk of different free or not free implementations of that language.
You simply can not do that for LaTeX. A different implementation will
implement a different language. That is just the way TeX works.
So LaTeX has the perfectly reasonable (and apparently DFSG compliant)
restriction that if you change the code so that it no longer implements
the same language, you call it something different.
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